1. Look at photographs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Keeping in mind Shapiro’s descriptions of city scenes, read a couple of poems in conjunction with the photos, and discuss what you see the poems doing in relation to the urban scenes you see. (Try “Brooklyn,” page 35 of A Momentary Glory; “Praise For,” page 41; “City Poem,” 90; and “Psalm,” 95.)
2. Play some recordings of jazz and discuss the musical dimension of some of Shapiro’s poems.
3. Shapiro’s late work is funny, witty, ironic (especially in this new book) in its discussing illness and death, without detracting from the seriousness of the subject. Discuss how Shapiro manages to do this.
Discussion prompts courtesy of Norman Finkelstein, editor of A Momentary Glory.